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Research impact

The benefits of research carried out in Scottish universities reach far beyond academia. They extend into the lives of people not only in this country but in many other parts of the world.

Impact of Scotland's Research

Scotland's Research Contribution to National and International Challenges

Looking at Scottish universities’ contribution to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals is one way of understanding the scope and depth of Scotland’s research impact. 

The SFC report Scotland's Research Contribution to National and International Challenges includes statistics and case studies for each of the 17 goals.

SFC Saltire Emerging Researcher Scheme

In 2021 the Saltire Research Awards formed part of the Scottish Government’s £6.75 million commitment to supporting discovery and innovation in Scottish universities. They were designed to maintain and strengthen Scottish-European research collaboration.

As part of the initiative, 142 exchanges took place within the SFC Saltire Emerging Researcher Scheme. During the programme, Scottish- and European-based post-graduate and early career researchers undertook exchanges between Scotland and 21 European countries.

Publication of REF 2021 impact case studies

The database of REF 2021 impact case studies is now available on the REF 2021 website.

The database contains around 6,000 case studies detailing how university research benefits wider society; just under 750 of these come from Scottish universities. The Scottish case studies cover eight different types of impact with over 70% falling under the headings of society, technology and culture. A further 90 case studies are in areas relating to health and 65 cover environmental research.